Program Update – May 2011

OOI Program Update

An external review panel has commended the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) team for its ability work together and effectively integrate the numerous and diverse segments that make up this unique and complex program.

A week-long external review of the OOI was held at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution May 16-20.  The National Science Foundation-sponsored review examined all facets of construction and future operations of the OOI.  The OOI team had the opportunity to display the substantive technical progress made so far, while responding to the detailed questions posed by the panel in plenary questions/answer sessions as well as in focused ‘breakout’ sessions.  From the team’s perspective, it was a productive week of stimulating interaction with an extremely experienced group of panelists. At the conclusion of the review, the panel stated that the OOI is an outstanding program being implemented by a highly motivated and dedicated team.  The panel made a number of constructive recommendations that will be incorporated into its report to the NSF.

The program review validated that we have a strong, cohesive and dedicated team and we are well positioned to succeed.  We continue to develop process, plans and tools to bring an extensive array of data products to the scientific community.  This team’s expertise, hard work, and dedication will result in the successful completion of the OOI construction.  All of you can be proud of the accomplishments and dedication of the OOI team – to quote the review panel…OOI is an “Olympic Gold medal team!”

A number of significant OOI events will occur in the coming months.

Coastal Global Scale Node: The test mooring in 25m of water off the Oregon coast has been delivering vital engineering data through the near-shore telemetry link and is functioning well.  That inshore mooring will be recovered in July.   Design reviews and pre-deployment tests are scheduled through the summer for the September deployment of three test moorings in the North Atlantic, south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Regional Scale Node: In mid-July the undersea cable will be connected to the shore station at Pacific City and the cable will be deployed by a commercial cable ship across the Juan de Fuca plate to the Axial Volcano and Hydrate Ridge sites. That cable component ultimately will link scientists and others in the user community to data streaming from the extensive array of sensors that will be deployed on the seafloor and on water column moorings.

Cyberinfrastructure: Our Cyberinfrastructure team is scheduled to complete “Release 1” of the software architecture in June, allowing testing of the foundational capabilities of the data distribution system for the OOI.

Please follow our progress on OOI’s upcoming exciting milestones at:


Tim Cowles
Program Director, Ocean Observing